Recent college graduates with a bachelor’s degree in the arts, humanities and architecture are facing a significantly higher unemployment rate than students in technical fields, according to a Georgetown University study.
Students graduating in liberal arts and humanities are struggling with employment because of their broadened studies. The study stated the unemployment level for the arts is 11.1 percent and the humanities is 9.4 percent.
While those percentages are higher than anyone would like to see, it is actually architecture majors who face the highest rate of unemployment at 13.9 percent.
The decline in jobs can be attributed to the economic recession and decreased construction. In late January, the United States Department of Commerce released a statement indicating that 2011 was the worst year for new home sales since 1963.
“When money is no longer available for loans to give to developers and money is no longer available for mortgages for people to purchase the housing, you have a slump in the architectural profession as well as construction,” said Jack Davis, the dean of the College of Architecture & Urban Studies at Virginia Tech.
But the unemployment rates may not affect some.
“Personally, I won’t be affected because I’m continuing to higher education, but I would have looked at it differently,” said Aaricka Hellbery, a senior architecture major. “This is influencing people to continue to the next step and consider industrial design, construction, etc., when typically they would go directly into the field.”
Generally, architects graduate with the intention of going to a particular area of the country, which may have a higher unemployment rate. For example, Portland, Ore. is a highly desirable city to live in, but the chances of finding a job for architecture there are the lowest in the country.
There is an underlying question regarding the high rates: Is there anything that can be done, with regard to the education of these students, to assist them in finding a job after graduating?
“The education of an architect is greater than housing, it’s all types of building designs and unfortunately money is tight in all aspects,” Davis said. ”There’s nothing relative to the education of the architect that needs to change as much as change in the financial market to support building in general.”
In essence, not all college degrees are created equal.
The most recent college graduates with the lowest rates of unemployment included health (5.4 percent), education (5.4 percent), as well as agriculture and natural resources (7 percent). Those with a degree in business and engineering are also among the lowest.
There is a considerable difference in not only unemployment rates, but also in the income of various fields. Engineering majors will make about $55,000, compared to those in the arts who will earn about $30,000.
The study asks the question, is college worth it? A college education is a large investment that, several times, leads to student debt. The lack of security in finding a job after graduation worries many students.
Nevertheless, the study concludes that despite its drawbacks, a college degree is still a valuable commodity. Unemployment for those who only had a high school diploma was 22.9 percent and 31.5 percent for recent high school dropouts.